I’ve been hesitant to post this post, because I didn’t want to encourage people to think it’s a safe bet to treat a blade roughly. But after a recent conversation with a prominent character in the scything scene, I’m inclined to think that yes, maybe it’s time I did, especially to balance my recent post on blade damage (“Let this be a lesson to you…“)
This prominent character suggested that, short of melting a scythe blade, a blade can, in some respects, be considered indestructible. You could cut a blade into several pieces and still get it back together again. It’s just a question of having the requisite skill, equipment, and time to be able to do so. I would still stress that most mowers don’t!
You can, for example, MIG-weld or TIG-weld a scythe blade. They key is to keep the temperature low to ensure you don’t undermine the hardening of the steel. I’m told by my brother – until recently a metalworker of some decades’ experience – that silcon bronze would be a good low temperature solution.
I have seen blades repaired by welding, and I’ve also engaged in some ‘experimental’ extreme edge repair myself. Check out these shots of a repair I performed on a friend’s blade after a large tear occurred. It was more an experiment to see what could actually be achieved, rather than a genuine attempt at repair, but I was actually quite heartened by the result.
To get to this point I used a bench grinder, angle grinder, belt sander, file, and peening. Once it was honed, I was pleasantly surprised to find it still mowed. If I were to spend more time on it, I’d go for this kind of curve:
So, yes, for the brave at heart, a badly damaged blade need not be the end of the road, or “RIP”. But you’re much better off being very attentive, both in mowing and in keeping an eye on any damage. Some minor damage you can get away with, but until you’ve got a feel for how the blade behaves under the hammer and in the field, I’d suggest you tread with caution.